If you have an issue and ask for help in a tech startup, you will see bright, happy, shiny faces.
That is always great, and we all love a warm conversation, but the industry as a whole got used to the idea that all customers want is someone enthusiastic and friendly: empathy is the most important thing.
They may ask about your vacation in Italy, relate to your educational background, the weather in your city, or even talk about art.
They are your “buddy”, if you have a problem, they’re “there for you”.
But what happens when you have an issue and go to talk to them?
I am so sorry… I can completely understand how frustating this is =(
Actually…. this is a bit outside of my scope. I’m gonna ask our engineering team and get back to you =)
What? You can’t do that? I’m sorry, I didn’t know… we are really sorry.
I’m sure it’s a big deal for you. If you can think of anything else we could help you with, I’m here for you =)
You see, the problem is that customers are asking for a simple and straightforward solution.
Using niceness to cover up their lack of knowledge, or a faulty product, is never a good idea.
Indeed, if that happens, your support agents will only use empathy as a way to expose how bad your product is.
Empathy and niceness cannot change a product or solve a problem, so it shouldn’t be an extraordinary cost for a startup.
Empathy and niceness is a trait present in charismatic and talented professionals, but it’s not a long-term investment or necessarily a way to avoid churn.
Instead of hiring dozen of “happiness agents”, you’re better off spending time and money improving your product itself. Then, have a smaller and more technical support team (perhaps bringing in some former developers) that can fully understand and evangelize your product.
In the end, If I’m sending you a support ticket, I expect an answer or solution for my issue, not a warm hug telling me:
Yes, I’m so sorry, our product sucks, but I’m here for you.
Do you wanna learn how to help and support technical customers?
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